Luke Walton, oil management expert at AAK Foodservice, was invited to go behind the scenes at the elegant village pub to meet the kitchen team as they put Prep high-performance frying oil through its paces.
The Railway has won more than a dozen major industry awards, including BII Licensee of the Year 2019, and success in the National Pub & Bar Awards as 2018 regional winner and 2019 county winner. The pub has been a landmark of the charming Nottinghamshire village of Lowdham since 1876, and its renaissance has been led by directors David Hage and Mark Osborne, who took over the pub in 2017 and transformed it into a destination gastro pub.
"The Railway’s kitchen team are highly trained chefs using seasonal ingredients to create sophisticated, high-end cuisine,” Luke says.
“As you’d expect, the fries served here are crisp, golden and cooked to perfection, and the tempura vegetables are light and crispy. The kitchen was using rapeseed oil to achieve these results, so we recommended they run a trial with one of the Prep high-performance oils to see if they could make their oil last longer – saving time and money in the long run, while maintaining high quality.”
The month-long trial saw the team use Prep Multi Plus, a medium-duty oil designed for frequent use. The oil is packaged in 100% recyclable PET bottles and is recommended for either frying chips regularly or a variety of foods several times a week – ideal for The Railway, where frying is not the predominant cooking method.
“Fries are the food that degrade oil the fastest,” says Luke. “They may not stain the oil, but the starches in the potato contribute to quicker deterioration of the oil’s quality, than battered or breaded foods. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right oil for cooking chips, fries and other potato products.”
Prep Multi Plus is proven to last two times longer than standard vegetable oil – as long as it’s used in conjunction with an oil management system.
Luke explains: “The team at The Railway were already on the ball when it came to frying oil and were using a number of techniques to ensure food was always cooked in clean, fresh oil.
“We showed them how to build on their oil management routine to help maintain the quality of their oil and make it last even longer.”
Following the trial, The Railway’s director Mark Osborne said using Prep had made a positive impact on food quality.
“We don’t fry very often at The Railway, but when we do, the results have to be perfect. We found that Prep helped to maintain the quality of our fries, as the oil appeared to stay lighter for longer.”
Prepping for award-winning food
As an experienced oil management trainer, Luke works with establishments ranging from family pubs serving a huge and diverse ‘pub grub’ menu, to small, independent licensed premises with a small selection of hot bar snacks. Yet each one, he says, sheds new light on the way pub and bar kitchens use frying oil and make the best of their food.
“A pub like The Railway is particularly interesting,” he says, “because it helps us deepen our knowledge about how chefs work and the demands they place on their ingredients and tools.
“It would be very rewarding to think that the next award The Railway picks up is as a result of a dish created with Prep!”